Two weeks on Kauai is perfect. It allows you to see everything at a much slower pace with plenty of relaxation and lazy beach days. I'd suggest adding lots of naps, vegging out on the beach, and stopping to smell all the exotic flowers.
Day 1: Arrive in Kauai; Go Directly to the Beach
After you get off the plane, head for the beach closest to your accommodations. Don't forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat before you leave your hotel. Just as we recommended in the itinerary for 1 week, you might consider a Hawaiian dinner at one of the luau offered to get into the spirit of your Hawaiian vacation. Plan on an early bedtime; you'll be pooped.
Day 2: See Kauai from the Sky
With the time difference between Kauai and the mainland, most likely you will be wide-awake before the break of dawn. We suggest you book an early morning helicopter tour of the island to get your bearings. The reason you want to book a tour early in your stay is that if weather conditions cancel your flight, you still have plenty of days remaining to rebook a flight. If your flight is canceled, you might as well get up early and watch the sunrise. After your helicopter ride out of Lihue, grab your snorkel gear and head for Poipu Beach to see what the fish are up to. Terrific lunches can be had at Brennecke's Beach Broiler, just across the beach from the park. As the sun sets, stop by the Beach House for divine pupu (appetizers) and a liquid libation. Then head to Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill in the Poipu Shopping Center for a fabulous dinner.
Day 3: Dive in at the North Shore
With the whole day ahead of you, take a post-breakfast drive out to the end of the road at Kee Beach. If you get up early, have breakfast at the Hanalei Wake-up Café. Head out to the end of the road, park, and hike a couple of miles along the Na Pali Coast and back (make sure you have good hiking shoes, water, snacks, and sunscreen); or you can venture down the highway to Tunnels Beach for an early morning snorkel. After a couple of hours at the beach, continue on to the Limahuli Garden of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and step into Eden.
By now you should be hungry. Head back to Hanalei and grab a bite at the Hanalei Gourmet; take it down to the beach for a picnic lunch. After lunch, wander through the shops at Hanalei, get a shave ice, and take in the slow pace of life on the North Shore. Finish the day with a pau hana-time (quit-work time) cocktail at Tahiti Nui, then enjoy a relaxing dinner at either Bar Acuda in Hanalei or in Haena at Mediterranean Gourmet at the Hanalei Bay Colony Resort.
Day 4: Hike Through Kauai's Grand Canyon
Head out west, up to Waimea Canyon. Have warm clothes and be prepared for rain. Get an early start and have breakfast or coffee at the Kalaheo Café & Coffee Co., where you can pick up a picnic lunch. Stop in Waimea town to explore the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park and the Menehune Ditch, then plan to spend most of the day hiking the various trails in the Waimea Canyon area. All that hiking will work up an appetite, so for dinner go Italian at Pomodoro in Kalaheo.
Day 5: Spend a Day in the Clouds at Kokee
If you aren't too sore from hiking in Waimea Canyon, head back up the mountain another 16 miles up the hill from the Waimea Canyon, where at 4,000 feet lies the Kokee State Park. Stop for lunch at the Kokee Lodge, open from 9am to 2:30pm. Check in at the Kokee Natural History Museum to learn about the forests and surrounding area, locate good hiking trails, and pick up a couple of trail maps. In the afternoon, wander around the park, and stay for sunset. If it's Friday night, plan dinner at the Hanapepe Café. If it's not, Toi's Thai Kitchen, in Eleele, has terrific and affordable Thai cuisine; or, Keoki's Paradise, in Poipu, offers great seafood and steaks in a tropical jungle decor.
Day 6: Out on the Water
After a couple of days in the mountains, it's time to head to the beach again. If you are coming from the North Shore or from the Coconut Coast, stop for a yummy breakfast at the Tip Top Café/Bakery, in Lihue. If you like sailing and snorkeling, book a sail/snorkel tour out of the Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor or Port Allen for the trip of a lifetime -- exploring the Na Pali Coast.
If you pass on sailing, wander into the old plantation town of Hanapepe and browse at the unique shops. Continue west to Kauai's biggest beach at Polihale State Park. Spend the day here, and be sure to check out the "barking" sands at Barking Sands Beach. Enjoy the sunset, then head over to Tidepool Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu for dinner on the water.
Day 7: Explore Kilauea
Your beach quotient should be filled by now, so spend the day in the Kilauea area exploring gardens and the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. First, call Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens to make sure they are open, and book a tour. This incredible, magical garden is for people who shudder at the thought of seeing a botanical garden: The whimsical magic of the place will win over even the most stubborn. Build up an appetite for lunch by checking out the very unusual shops at Kong Kung in Kilauea. Pick up a delicious picnic lunch at Kilauea Fish Market. Then head down the road to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a 200-acre habitat for Hawaii's ocean birds. Eat your picnic on the coast, join a guided hike, or just wander through the fairyland of the wilderness area. Have dinner at the wonderful Lighthouse Bistro Kilauea.
Day 8: Cruise the Coconut Coast
For those who just can't get enough beach time, make your way to Wailua Beach on the Coconut Coast. This beach, which features Hawaiian historical and cultural sites, is also a great place to just sit under a palm tree and figure out how you can move here permanently. For those non-beach people, you either explore the great shopping along the coast, or head inland and see the sacred Hindu temple, San Marga Iraivan Temple. Eat lunch in Kapaa at Mermaids Cafe. In the afternoon, consider either hiking up Sleeping Giant Mountain, bicycling along the shoreline, or renting a kayak from Kauai Water Ski & Surf Co.. By dinnertime, you'll be hungry; head for Caffè Coco.
Day 9: A Day of Adventure
Try something you have never done before. Sign up for a Tubing Adventure with Kauai Backcountry Adventures, for a chance to float down the former sugar-cane irrigation flumes. Or sail through the air on the new zipline adventure; we recommend Outfitters Kauai's Kipu Falls Zipline Trek for an adrenaline rush that you won't soon forget. Plan a quiet afternoon at the beach to relax after your big adventure of the day.
Day 10: See Kauai from a Different Perspective
See Kauai from the ocean by joining a kayak tour, where you will skim over the ocean's (or a river's) surface coming eyeball-to-eyeball with turtles, flying fish, and other marine creatures. In the afternoon, book a horseback riding tour and see Kauai from a different vantage point. There are a variety of different types of tours, from riding along secluded beaches to trekking back to hidden waterfalls. Plan a quiet dinner and an early bedtime.
Day 11: Get Pampered -- A Day at the Spa
Plan an entire day at a spa. We recommend several top spas, which will soothe your aching muscles from your days of adventure. Try something new -- maybe a traditional Hawaiian lomilomi massage or an ayurvedic massage (once given only to royalty for rejuvenation). Do nothing but lie around and relax. Order room service or get takeout for dinner.
Day 12: Back to the Beach
Polish up your tan at the beach. Even if it is raining on one side of the island, frequently you can drive to the other side and it will be bright sunshine. Get a tropical-flavored shave ice and enjoy a taste of the islands.
Day 13: Shop 'Til You Drop
Get out the list of people you must buy gifts for and then use our list of great places to shop, great buys, and ideas on what to take home.
Day 14: Getting the Most Out of Your Last Day
If this is your last day, spend it in the Lihue area. It's close to the airport, and there are plenty of things to do. You might want to step back in history and visit the Kauai Museum in Lihue or Kilohana in Puhi. Or drive up to the Wailua Falls, just outside of town. Shoppers may like wandering around the old town of Lihue. Die-hard beachgoers can head to Kalapaki Beach for their last few hours of sun. If you are in a casual mode, get some burgers for the beach at Kalapaki Beach Hut.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.